Soft Machine

It was the 60s; a time of sex, drugs and rock n' roll and everything in between. If you just so happened to be a teenager during this era, it is most probable that life was o­ne giant, dream-like party. The Soft Machine was formed in 1966 and made a name for themselves in the London rock scene. The band, which always saw members coming and going consisted mainly of Mike Ratledge (keyboard), Hugh Hopper (bass), Elton Dean (sax), Kevin Ayers (guitar) and Robert Wyatt (drums and lead vocals). The band started turning heads overseas o­nce they began touring with The Jimi Hendrix Experience in 1968. In Soft Machine terms, 1967-71 should be referred to as The Wyatt Years. Music critics look back o­n this period in the band's ten year history as their finest, due to Robert's intense creativity and vocal range. His undeniable charisma shines through o­n this collection of Soft Machine tracks compiled by BBC Radio. The album opens with 5 previously unreleased tracks (noteworthy: the quirkily and trippy "Clarence In Wonderland" and "Certain Kind") showcasing the talents of Kevin Ayers, followed by countless live recordings, new takes o­n old classics from their repertoire (the explicitly entertaining "Instant Pussy" comes to mind) and even a 20 minute-long medley (which includes "Mousetrap" and the cleverly titled "Esther's Nose Job"). Whether you're a fan of "The Softs" (a nickname which has stuck with them) or simply enjoy experiencing limit-pushing, psychedelic rock, this disc shows why the diversity of the "British Invasion" was welcomed with such open arms.

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